EWI Leader: Maria Cattaui

News | October 24, 2012

A few weeks ago, we sat down with board member Maria Cattaui to ask her about her time with EWI, beginning with what drew her to the institute in the first place

“What attracted me the most was courage,” said Cattaui, explaining that, during the Cold War, EWI’s idea of informal discussions between Russians and their Western counterparts was unpopular – even revolutionary. “This concept of daring to do is at the root of what I admire about EWI.”

Cattaui’s own professional history is prestigious: she is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Petroplus Holdings AG, Switzerland. Previously, she was Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, championing the role of world business in the global economy. She also worked for the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where she became managing director, responsible for the Annual Meeting in Davos.

Still, Cattaui has found the time to take an active and enthusiastic role in EWI over the years. In one memorable trip, she joined Founder and President John E. Mroz in Moscow for an early meeting on cybersecurity – an example, she said, of EWI’s ability to tackle new security challenges, to “delineate where those difficult divides are happening - where things are stuck” and to make an impact.

At EWI, we are grateful for the involvement and guidance of our board members like Cattaui. For our 30th anniversary, we have begun interviewing them about their experiences at EWI – a valuable chance not only to chronicle the institute’s oral history, but to learn about ourselves.

What has emerged is a portrait of EWI as a small, innovative organization willing to tackle the world’s toughest problems and deliver solutions, like bridging divides between Afghanistan and Pakistan or getting Chinese and American political leaders to sit down one-on-one.  Or, an organization that “dares to do,” as Cattaui put it.

We invite you to watch this short video which, along with Cattaui, features: Ross Perot Jr., EWI Co-Chairman and Chairman of Hillwood; Stephen Heintz, President of the Rockefeller Fund; Mark Maletz, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School; Jerald Baldridge, Chairman of Republic Energy Inc.;  Ikram Sehgal, Chairman of Security and Management Services; and Leo Schenker, Senior Executive Vice President of Central National-Gottesman Inc.